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SOC100H5 (934)

Race and Ethnicity

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Suzanne Casimiro

SOC100 October 28 th Race and Ethnicity The Social Meaning of Race and Ethnicity - race: a socially constructed category of people who share biologically transmitted traits that members of a society consider important - racial types: Caucasian, Negroid, and Mongoloid - can be misleading Racial and Ethnic Categories th - scientists invented the concept of race in the 19 century - the 3 racial categories differ in only 6% of their genes, less than the genetic variation within each category Ethnicity - a shared cultural heritage - objective criteria: ancestry, dress, religion, language - 18% of Canadian population claim languages other than French or English as their mother tongues Minorities - any category of people distinguished by physical or cultural difference that a society sets apart and subordinates - distinctive identity and subordination - though not always less than 50% o ex. women in Blacks in South Africa Prejudice and Stereotypes - prejudice: a rigid and unfair generalization about an entire category of people - stereotype: a simplified description applied to every person in some category - Aboriginal people are stereotyped by some as lacking motivation, but most poor people are white Racism - the belied that one racial category is innately superior or inferior to another - a powerful rationale - Canada has not had external colonies but Aboriginal reserves are internal colonialism - racial conflict has intensified in Britain and Western European societies due to immigration from former colonies Theories of Prejudice - where does it come from? - scapegoat theory: prejudice springs from frustration among people who are themselves disadvantaged o is a way of expressing anger o produces feelings of superiority o scapegoat: people blame them for their own troubles - authoritarian personality theory: a personality trait of certain individuals who show intolerance towards all minorities o are rigid moralists with little education who see things as clear-cut matters of right and wrong o view society as naturally competitive and hierarchical - culture theory: same prejudice is found in everyone because it is embedded in their culture o belief in the social superiority of some categories of people (ex. British) is still a part of Canadian culture o Bogardus’ social distance scale shows consistency between Canada and US - conflict theory: prejudice is a part of social conflict o self-justification for the rich and powerful to oppress others, ex. Chinese railroad labourers o Steele: minorities themselves may cultivate climate of race consciousness (victimhood) in order to win greater power and privileges (special treatment) Discrimination - unequal treatment of various categories of people - is a matter of action - institutional discrimination and prejud
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